The recent announcement by the Indian authorities to permit temporary residents in IIOJ&K to register as voters is yet another attempt to change the demographic features of the state. This move follows the promulgation of a new domicile law after the repeal of Article 370 of the Indian constitution revoking the special status of the state, its bifurcation into two territories, and annexation to the Indian union. The announced measure is likely to add 2.5 million more voters, which the local population fears would allow the BJP government to alter the demographics of the region. It is a sinister move to convert the Muslim majority into a minority in due course of time and has rightly been rejected and condemned by Pakistan. The action constitutes a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention and the UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute. After the end of World War II, as a consequence of the initiative taken by the International Committee of Red Cross, the Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Convention for Protection of Victims of War was held in Geneva which adopted the 4th Geneva Convention on 12 August 1949. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted a report from the Secretary-General and a Commission of Experts which concluded that the Geneva Conventions had passed into the body of customary international law, thus making them binding even on non-signatories to the Conventions whenever they engage in armed conflicts. What it meant was that these conventions were obligatory in all states of the world. Article 27 of the Geneva IV states “Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.

The spate of actions taken by India in IIOJ&K over the past three years manifests Indian intent to disenfranchise Kashmiri Muslims and impose the BJP government on the occupied territory after fraudulent polls. For this purpose, Delhi has sought to bring about administrative and demographic changes and recast the electoral map to give Jammu greater representation and reduce Muslim representation to shift the political balance in favor of Hindus. In May this year, India’s Delimitation Commission carved out new electoral constituencies in IIOJ&K that disempower the Muslim population. According to the 2011 census, Muslims constitute over 68% of J&K’s population while Hindus are 28%. The new delimitation done has given Jammu six more seats in the 90-member IIOJ&K Assembly while Kashmir gets only one more. Accordingly, Jammu would have a total of 43 seats, leaving Kashmir with 47. Estimates of the present population of Kashmir are of course higher. Indian security forces in IIOJ&K are occupying force by all definitions since Kashmir’s fate, as per UN resolutions, is to be decided through a plebiscite held under the auspices of the world body; a position which the UNSC has reiterated in its three informal meetings in the backdrop of scrapping of the special status of the state by the Modi regime.

Through the foregoing actions, India has not only torn asunder the 4th Geneva Convention but has also pummeled the UN resolutions in regards to the plebiscite besides breaching international law with impunity. It is indeed regrettable that neither the UN nor the big powers have shown real interest in stopping India in her tracks and resolving the Kashmir conflict as per the UN resolutions. Their indifference to the developments taking place in IIOJ&K and the fall-out of those provocative measures, is encouraging Indian hegemonic designs in the region.

India is being ruled by a diehard follower of the supremacist RSS ideology of Hindutva which takes inspiration from Nazism. It has already started showing its ugly face in the form of enhanced Indian hostility towards Pakistan. Indian leaders are on record to have repeatedly threatened Pakistan with dire consequences and in February 2019 India did make her intentions clear when it sent planes to bomb imagined terrorist camps at Balakot ostensibly in retaliation for the Pulwama incident which according to revelations recently made by an Indian journalist, close to the BJP regime, was stage-managed by the Modi government to win elections and find an excuse to take action against Pakistan. India has also been supporting the insurgency in Balochistan and acts of terrorism throughout the country as corroborated by the revelations made by the captured Indian spy Kalbhushan Jhadav.

Is it not a pity that a state which has shown no respect for UN resolutions, International Law, and the 4th Geneva Convention is being supported for a permanent seat in the Security Council besides propping it up as a regional superpower through the transfer of nuclear technology and NSG waiver in complete violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? They fail to realize that any such eventuality would lead to perennial instability in the region and foreclose any chance of resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The Modi government is rightly perceived as a threat to peace and security in the region. Pakistan has been persistently warning the world and the UN about Indian designs and urging them to intervene before it is too late. Those who cry hoarse from every convenient forum to pronounce their humanitarian credentials and adherence to international law, UN Charter, and UN Conventions, need to rattle their conscience.